Open Forum

There’s a lot of chatter out there about the two Jodi Rell stories from yesterday. Recommended reading: Colin McEnroe, Ted Mann and Dean Pagani, for starters (Dean also has an interview with John McKinney that you should take a look at).

Gov. Rell says no to tolls. I thought everything was on the table?

Why is the smallest town in the state building a new school?

New state rep. Chris Coutu has resigned his seat on the Norwich city council.

Lastly, there’s hope for a new stimulus package, and worries about working at cross purposes with Washington.

What else is going on?

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15 responses to “Open Forum

  1. The attacks on Rell are the the typical Kaubki Dance here in Connecticut when the budget gets tough. All the interest groups who may be facing cuts (including the state employee unions) go after the only possible obstacles to higher taxes and maintaining the status quo. Rell’s popularity (justified or not) gives her the moral authority to stand up against this and insist on cuts, etc ( not that I’m all that confidant she will). Might as well undermine that then increase co-pays and deductibles for the state employees and retirees.

  2. BruceRubenstein

    JM..please both parties have interest groups….

    I see the only way out of this mess is some selected cuts in programs that dont work…hiring freeze perhaps…..and additional spending on a state stimulas and federal stimulas package…back by some increased federal stimulas money…..and perhaps more federal money for medicaid.

  3. AndersonScooper

    Genghis–

    Union, Connecticut does seem to need a new school. I won’t begrudge them that.

    What’s obscene is the size and price of the 20,000sf, $6.6 million dollar project, — for a K-8 enrollment standing at 77 students which they hope to grow to 100.

    How the heck can schooll construction cost $330/sf? Unbelievable. I guess that’s what happens when the State picks up half the tab. You don’t order chopped sirloin, you go for the filet mignon instead…

  4. BruceRubenstein

    Anderson…..notice in the newspaper article that the lead politicians, as cited by the Courant, for the money for the school, were republicans….no doubt Rell did them a favor at the expense of conservative fiscal responsibility as she controls the bonding committee…..she and the republican legislaters may talk fiscally conservative but as you can see, in actuality they are tax and spenders….

    sidenote to ACS….this sir is one reason why i believe her numbers will go down further…..

    additional sidenote to Mr Pesci….is this the conservative values that you ascribe too?

  5. [quote comment=”38950″]JM..please

    both parties have interest groups….

    I see the only way out of this mess is some selected cuts in programs that dont work…hiring freeze perhaps…..and additional spending on a state stimulas and federal stimulas package…back by some increased federal stimulas money…..and perhaps more federal money for medicaid.[/quote]
    Never said they didn’t.
    Don’t believe a “State Stimulus”( whatever that is) will do anything in a global slowdown. I’m no economist, but a lot of them question the question the effectiveness of a Federal one too. In fact a fair number believe these do more harm than good in the longer term
    Nevertheless you simply can’t ignore the impact of the employee benefit packages on the budget problem. The State Employee and Teachers’ Pension Plans are $18 Billion under funded ( this includes the $2billion of bond proceeds that were injected into the Teachers’ Trust, but it does have to be paid back. It does not take into account market performance since June 30, ’08) The cost to amortize these over a 30 year period is $1.5 Billion (again as of 6/30/08) cost to the ’10 budget. And it keeps increasing.
    The State EmployeeRetirement Health Care unfunded liability was $22 Billion as June ’06. If, and that’s a huge “if’, they were to amotize that, the budget impact would be close to $2 Billion.
    You would have to have been asleep if you are not now aware of the issue of legacy issues and unless you’re going to suggest that arithmetic is different for the State (Granted their Acoounting is, but bad accounting has also contibuted to the cuirrent problem), this is a major, major issue.
    So yes, there are many interest groups, but the stakes are a lot higher for some than others.

  6. [quote comment=”38952″]What’s obscene is the size and price of the 20,000sf, $6.6 million dollar project, — for a K-8 enrollment standing at 77 students which they hope to grow to 100.

    How the heck can schooll construction cost $330/sf? Unbelievable. I guess that’s what happens when the State picks up half the tab. You don’t order chopped sirloin, you go for the filet mignon instead…[/quote]

    The same argument applies to New Haven’s $1.15 billion (with a B) school reconstruction program, too. For example, the Cooperative Arts &
    Humanities Magnet High School in New Haven is costing about $420 per square foot. New Haven and Hartford have been sucking from the State’s school construction teat for the last decade, and what do they have to show for it? These cities have two of the highest costing (and lowest performing) per-pupil school systems in the State.

  7. BruceRubenstein

    JM….while i grant that we have under funded issues concerning retirees and state employees,we also have been dead last among 50 states, or close to last, for the past 10 years in job creation…. yet we fund a state agency who’s mission is tech jobs and another for development and both agencies give out money to companies who have produced very little over 10 years….i propose we get rid of those state departments and agencies and the savings would be immense, perhaps billions would be saved.

  8. [quote comment=”38957″]JM….while i grant that we have under funded issues concerning retirees and state employees,we also have been dead last among 50 states, or close to last, for the past 10 years in job creation…. yet we fund a state agency who’s mission is tech jobs and another for development and both agencies give out money to companies who have produced very little over 10 years….i propose we get rid of those state departments and agencies and the savings would be immense, perhaps billions would be saved.[/quote]

    I agree that the state agency system to promote jobs is ridiculous, and those should certainly get pulled.

    One reason CT hasn’t added many jobs lately is because we don’t have a growing population. Unemployment here is as low as other states. Now, do people leave because there are no new jobs, or are there no new jobs because there’s no one to fill them? I think probably some of both. There’s no new population because we’re one of the most densely populated states, and housing costs are high. It’s difficult for someone to relocate here unless they are making a lot of money. I can’t imagine that CT will be a jobs machine anytime soon.

  9. BR,
    you won’t get any argument from me. As I have stated on this blog before, I have run a manufacturing business in Connecticut for the past 22+ years that has been on its present site for going on 60, and nothing frosts my a– more than watching the State Economic Development types fall over trying to attract new businesses while ignoring the ones that that have been hanging in there trying to compete on a national scale with some of the hoghest business costs in the world.
    And borrowing money to spend on stadiums, convention centers, science centers, and the like is a poor excuse for economic development.
    But to both you and GMR I would point out that having some of the highest long term liabilities in the country is no way to attract business investment. The smart money understands the time bombs that are ticking and there are plenty of other places to put their money (or what’s left of it today). Low job growth, shrinking populations, growing deficits, and rising taxes (state and local) are NOT independent of each other. As Jack Kennedy said: “All boats rise with the tide.” And the tide is going out in Connecticut, and has been for quite some time. The time has come to bite a lot of bullets, or the only thing left will be a population totally dependent on government hanging on to a lot of empty promises.

  10. “i propose we get rid of those state departments and agencies and the savings would be immense, perhaps billions would be saved. ”

    Hey if we can save billions by getting rid of those departments and agencies I say go for it. Obviously when you have to pay someone to move jobs here we all know there is a serious problem.

    But why stop there? Why not look at all the state agencies, question their value, and expense to operate, and ask how much we can save at each one as well? If one agency can save us billions, just imagine how many more billions there are to be saved if you look at them all.

    There are many reasons why this state is virtually dead last in job creation. JM has done an excellent job of pointing out just one of them. One that I happen to feel is also a very good reason why we who are retired, as well as our kids getting out of college move out of here as well.

    I propose far more than just closing down some state agencies. I propose the Governor and General Assembly recognize their responsibility here and get serious about dealing with all the reasons why we are last on everyone’s list to add jobs. Waiting for the feds to send us a few bucks so we can continue to conduct business as usual, the same business as usual model that makes us no ones choice to add jobs, is not the answer.

    I wonder now that we have added a CVS, Walmart, Home Depot, and Duncan Donuts on every corner where will the new jobs come from to replace the 250 ones lost at Pratt yesterday?

  11. >>Duncan Donuts ???

  12. ACR,

    >>Duncan Donuts ???

    Glad you caught that……… I wonder how many donuts the state needs to sell, to make up for the loss of one Pratt job?

    Ever flown a donut anywhere??

  13. State Rep. Brian O’Connor was picked up for speeding AND failed a sobriety test and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    All this and it was before 6pm.

    http://www.newstimes.com/ci_11162265

    Great for the chairman of the Insurance Commitee. I’m sure that, since AS has such a low tolerence for this type of behavior, no douobt she will call for O’Connor’s resignation.

  14. [quote comment=”39078″]State Rep. Brian O’Connor was picked up for speeding AND failed a sobriety test and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    All this and it was before 6pm.

    http://www.newstimes.com/ci_11162265

    Great for the chairman of the Insurance Commitee.

    I’m sure that, since AS has such a low tolerence for this type of behavior, no douobt she will call for O’Connor’s resignation.[/quote]

    gee, shouldn’t this be a front page post? certainly related to ct local politics. can only imagine if repulican, what play it would get…

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